Today was the first successful bushwhack to the summit of Bald Mtn (Waitsfield, VT). Back in November I snowshoed the route in blue, which took me to the top of some fantastic cliffs that overlook the Mad River Valley. Today's route in red circumnavigated the cliffs, rose into a notch just below the cliffs, then turned SSW to reach the summit. This post is about something astonishing I saw up on the cliffs. Now bear in mind that this entire ridge shows no signs of use except by logging every now and then and moose and deer (and mice, rabbits, etc.). It's quite desolate, with no human footprints other than mine.
I noted the timestamp on the photo and based on my known start time, confirmed that the photo was taken 1:20 into my trek. I looked on my Garmin GPS track and determined I was at the position of those gree dots in the next picture.
I was on a SW bearing and looking almost due west toward the cliffs and narrowed it down to the area swept by the pink beam in the picture. I've looked carefully over satellite pictures of the area before, looking for old logging roads, and had never seen a house. This gave me a specific target area though. I looked again at a variety of satellite images and could not find any structure at all.
The next photo is my track on the satellite view. There are a few noteworthy features. My red track comes in at the upper right. I took the side trip to explore the views down to Northfield and on the return, came in on the little "U" track just above center-right. I notice the house and snapped the photo while standing right where the red track enters the picture on the right. I continued north, then entered the woods and dropped SW along a drainage that follows along the base of a vertical cliff face which appears as a NNE/SSW-trending grey line alongside my track in the center of the photo. That's the top of a 60-80' vertical wall. My track continues south as I maintained an elevation of about 2100' to come around the big ship's prow where the house was located. I headed NNW up into the notch and then hooked SW to hit Bald Mtn. On the diagram I note the curve of the ship's prow in light green (the top of the cliff band) and the approximate location of the house based on my photo as a pale yellow disk.
I searched satellite images and finally found an object that had straight, seemingly man-made lines, including lines at right angles. This must be the house. The location is severely dramatic but I can't imagine that anyone's been up there in a long time. During hunting season there was no indication anyone was using it. The old logging road doesn't go that far any more (downed trees make it so inaccessible that I bushwhacked up to the top of the cliffs on my first snowshoe there).
There's no indication of snowmobile use, ski or snowshoe tracks, or anything other than deer tracks. The road to the house has huge washouts and fallen trees, making it unlikely a vehicle has been up there in several years.
I've been all over the rocks at the top-left of the picture below, looking out over the notch to the west, which put me about 30 - 40' feet to the west (and a little north) of the house - and I never knew it was there.
I'm going to go back this winter and poke around a bit. I'm absolutely intrigued. I might check in at the town hall too and see if anyone has any record of that structure - which I believe is in Waitsfield.